Here is a summary of a discussion on community involvement which took place after Llandrindod Wells LM MfW on 26 November, assisted by Helen Oldfield, our vibrancy officer.
Llandrindod Wells Quaker Meeting.
Key points from the community involvement discussion on 26.11.17,
1. How do we reach out to the community? We had started the community ‘hub’ because we thought we were under threat of losing the Meeting House and the money from renting would secure its future. We have been reassured that there is no likelihood of it now closing – so what now is our vision for community engagement? We are individuals who are already active in the community and wanting to live our values. Our involvement is an individual choice. We do what we feel called to do because of who we are, and we meet together because we are like-minded, not because we are Quakers. It is not surprising that we few are so active, it is probably the same spirit which leads us to the Quaker meeting, not the other way round. We don’t need to be active jointly as an outreach group. An example of this is Jackie’s talk at the Transition social evening about money and the economy. It was courageous and visionary and she knew she had our backing.
There are many in society who would say that they have no religious faith but, when their actions can be seen to be in tune with ours, we should embrace them wholeheartedly. At the same time, we should be ready to say why we ourselves feel called to act.
2. How do we deepen our spirituality? The main attraction of Quakerism should be that it feeds the spirit. If it fails to do this, people will fall away. Nurturing our spirituality, both individually and as a meeting, is the corner stone. Our small group discussions are proving very enriching for this and if need be we can ask for facilitators from outside to help us. How can we each put our ‘faith into practice’ in the way that we have actively prioritised? This is exactly the kind of input one hopes to see from a commitment to the spiritual within community. Inner transition is the journey each of us has to make to bring our lives more in line with our ideals, and what we want society to be.
3. How do we keep vibrant? We recognise that we already are a vibrant meeting. We are ready to identify activities and events to draw people into the Meeting House and can discuss this together at our next shared lunch. These discussions and events like ‘Just this Day’ have made an important contribution to our vibrancy, and we should continue to do these things with enthusiasm. Other possibilities for what we could offer are a healing ministry and hosting a regular Mindfulness group. We are also well-placed in the community to offer lunch-time activities for people who are working. We need to be financially viable, but it is important not to be preoccupied with this. If we worship well, look after each other and live out our faith, then the finances will work for us. Our priority is the spiritual in the community, not paying Meeting House bills.
4. Are we seeing a broader transition within Quaker practice? Are there indications that Quaker practice itself is undergoing change? We would welcome a move toward a simpler, more open and inclusive style of conducting business that would make a very big difference to small Meetings like our own. We are also aware of subtle divisions between Members and Attenders that are dismissed as irrelevant by some and considered important by others. These are significant issues for us and need further discussion among ourselves so that we can express ourselves more clearly to Area Meeting.